These stylish stays across the globe prove that you don't have to sacrifice location, charm or even luxury when traveling on a budget. We've found 20 cheap hotels that offer everything from sexy rooftop bars and infinity pools to award-winning restaurants and buzzy bars.
El Patio 77, Mexico City
Finding a hotel that won't blow your budget in Mexico City isn't easy, especially in desirable neighborhoods like Condesa and Roma. This sweet eco-friendly hideaway in the up-and-coming Colonia of San Rafael has the antidote. The grand 19th-century home was converted into a boutique stay five years ago, with 8 suites inspired by Mexican states. Inside, you'll find locally-sourced antiques, ornate chandeliers and warm earthy tones. Four of the suites have private bathrooms ( the rest are shared), and all come in well under $150. That means plenty of pesos left over to explore the city's world-class culinary scene.
The Jane Hotel, New York
Built in 1908 as a house for sailors, the buzzy Jane Hotel is a downtown gem with ship-shaped cabins that range from a cozy 50 square feet to 250 square feet (called the "Captain's Cabins.") Not only are the affordable hotel rates extremely attractive for NYC, but there are gratis inclusions galore, from free bicycles to wifi, and you can't beat the location just steps from the High Line. Before you head out to explore, fuel up at the hotel's outpost of beloved East Village favorite Cafe Gitane.
citizenM New York Times Square, New York
New York may epitomize over-the-top luxury stays, but the city has its fair share of chic, cheap hotels. Take citizenM New York Times Square, a hip sleep that's modern (low-slung leather couches, lipstick-red accents) and playful (tablets in rooms control lighting and DJ-curated tunes). We love the wraparound rooftop terrace, grab-n-go wine bar and housemade breakfast spread (for free!).
With 11 locations in some of Europe's hottest cities, from Copenhagen to Berlin, the Generator mini-empire has turned the notion of the youth hostel on its head. These outposts are more like funky boutique hotels, filled with avant garde design, hip public spaces and tres desirable features like rooftop bars. The Paris location, for instance, sports retro-inspired furniture like leather butterfly chairs, industrial-chic warehouse light fixtures and Hans Wegner-style seats in the Moroccan-inspired chill-out zone.
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Room Mate Grace, New York
Her name is Grace. She's stylish, cool, lives smack in the center of Times Square and has the keys to unlocking the best of the city. That's the concept behind Room Mate Grace, the first NY outpost of the Madrid-based Room Mate chain. All 139 guestrooms are done up in loud, colorful wallpaper, comfy beds dressed with Egyptian cotton linens, abundant closet space and mod cons like free WiFi and flat-screen LCD TVs. The hotel’s best asset is the lobby's aquarium-like swimming pool and the blond-wood paneled bar, where a young crowd gathers for late night drinks and bites.
25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
The ever-growing 25 Hours brand has reinvented the chic affordable hotel in cities across Europe. The whimsical design and urban jungle theme of the Berlin flagship come courtesy of native Werner Aisslinger: expect design coups like a vertical garden, a "jungle" sauna with views of the Berlin Zoo and a buzzy rooftop bar with regular DJ sets and killer views over the city. Throw in free bicycle and Mini Cooper rentals and you've got a winning formula in anyone's language.
Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore
In a city known for its classic, if somewhat staid hotels, this design-forward stay is like a breath of fresh air. Located in Little India, the former 1920s school building now teaches master classes in whimsy. There are three room types: Pantone (decked out on in one color, from moody black to sunny yellow, complete with neon artworks above the beds); Mono (with white palettes inspired by origami and Pop Art); and Whimsical (themed loft rooms with a decidedly wacky bent.) Dine in at Cocotte, the hotel's buzzy restaurant specializing in rustic French cuisine served family-style.
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In a revamped 1920s landmark in Chicago’s increasingly hip River North neighborhood, the Freehand Chicago is part hotel, part hostel and all about an honest but playful design by Roman and Williams (Ace Hotel NY, Viceroy New York, the High Line Hotel and more). Expect a young crowd and social atmosphere whether it’s over breakfast in Cafe Integral, cocktails in it-bar Broken Shaker, or a midnight feast in the communal kitchen. Private rooms (40 percent are shared occupancy like its Miami sibling) are on the small side but outfitted with all the modern comforts (WiFi, TVs, en-suite bathrooms stocked with posh Argan products, and more) in a high-style mix of wood, leather and vintage accents.
The Dean, Providence, RI
Housed in a former brothel and filled with custom ironwork and paintings from Les Puces, Providence’s new Downcity hotel is a sexy steal starting at $79 per night. Sip locally roasted Bolt coffee on the handsome leather pommel horse/couch in the lobby, quaff cocktails by candlelight in the Magdalenae Room, and get to know your neighbors in the quirky, closet-size cage elevator. The hotel also has a German beer hall, Faust, and Seoul-style karaoke lounge with cherry-red vinyl banquettes.
With its clifftop villas and Instagram-worthy views, this perennial fashion world favorite in Negril’s West End hits the sweet spot between luxury and affordability. While the resort's cheapest rooms are housed in a traditional hotel block with garden vistas, even the swanky stone-and-thatched-roof villas—with their outdoor showers and private ladders into the sea—punch above their weight when it comes to value. Bonus: the ultra-romantic Rockhouse Restaurant offers delicious island-inspired cuisine like coconut chicken with pineapple relish and sweet plantains and jerk chicken fajitas, which will set you back just $15.
Rocamar, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Overlook the austere boxy exterior of this boutique hotel and revel in its beachfront location, freshwater pool and private balconies with hammocks that look out onto the water. Every morning, a complimentary breakfast of fresh fruit, toast and coffee is delivered to your room on a rustic wooden trays. Wake up to catch the sun rising over the Caribbean, then stroll five minutes to the beautiful white-sand beach of Playa Norte, the finest on Isla Mujeres.
Hotel Havana, San Antonio, Texas
This hip, pocket-friendly charmer set on the North Riverwalk is housed in a stately Mediterranean Revival 1914 building. Hotelier Liz Lambert⎯the talent behind cult stays like Marfa’s El Cosmico and Austin's Hotel Saint Cecilia⎯ is behind the stylishly spare design, which fuses classic Spanish Colonial motifs with Cuban-influenced details. The 27 rooms incorporate artfully weathered pine floors, Turkish rugs and original Cuban artworks, along with retro touches like vintage radios and 1950s-inspired Smeg fridges. Downstairs, Ocho restaurant serves up wickedly good bites like sweet plantain griddle cakes with Mexican crema and blueberries, and the best tostados north of the border.
Cocomama, Amsterdam, Netherlands
As the global appetite for upscale hostels reaches fever pitch, we can't help but get on board, especially when the hostel in question is as grown-up as this one. Along with dorm-style accommodations decorated with kitschy-cool artwork and objects, Cocomama has five private double rooms for those who don't want bunkbeds but still want to travel stylishly on the cheap. The light-filled, high-ceilinged mansion may have been a former brothel, but the closest thing to illicit activity going on these days is the "Red Light District Room," a parlor complete with red drapes, leopard-print cushions and Dutch ads for escorts. There's even a resident kitty called Joop.
Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park, Sydney
With its unique history (it was once a 1930s quarantine station) and jaw-dropping setting in the Northern Beaches, Q Station promises a brag-worthy vacation. Bunk down in simple but charming rooms, some with private balconies that overlook the Sydney Harbour National Park, then spend your days doing yoga at the hotel's beachfront pavilion or relaxing at nearby Manly Beach. If you're looking for something more active, the hotel's knowledgable staff can arrange anything from snorkeling and surfing to whale watching tours and diving excursions.
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Cabochon Hotel, Bangkok
This Sukhumvit Road landmark manages to feel supremely intimate despite its location in the middle of Bangkok. Set in the historic Walpole Building, the hotel has just 8 rooms that mix French Colonial elegance with traditional Thai style. If you're feeling nostalgic head to Cabochon's Joy Luck Club Lounge, with its Parisian and Viennese-inspired salons, or if you're more in the mood for contemporary glamour, check out the rooftop pool, with its skyscraping views over city.
House Hotel, Istanbul
Designed by Turkish tastemakers Autobahn, this 20-suite hotspot is located in the historic 1890s Zenovitch Apartment, in the artsy, boho-chic neighborhood of Çukurcuma. The interiors include exquisite (but not extravagantly priced) rooms with soaring ceilings, crown moldings and parquet floors, along with marble bathrooms, with walk-in rain showers. There's also an on-point attic bar with unparalleled views over the city.
Finca Valentina, Argentina
This gorgeous retreat in Salta, a two-hour flight from Buenos Aires, is like the country home of the aristocratic friends you wish you had. Among the charms of the elegant whitewashed homestead are a chic swimming pool and terrace, wood-burning fireplace and stylish rooms decorated with rustic artifacts and carved local furniture, with splashes of color from hand-woven textiles. Take your breakfast of home-made cakes and fresh fruits in the small dining room overlooking rolling hills.
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3B Brooklyn, NY
In case you were wondering whether it was possible to hispter-ify the stuffy Bed & Breakfast, look no further than 3B Brooklyn. The seven young creative owners turned their own historic home downtown into this cool B&B with light-filled rooms decked out in shabby-chic decor (think distressed timber headboards, hanging plants in macrame holders and vintage lamps). Bonus: the kosher vegetarian cooked breakfasts feature organic produce and killer coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting Company.
Safestay at Elephant & Castle, London
South of the Thames and close to the swanky new Shard, this is yet another addition to the nouveau hostel movement, offering stylin' budget accommodation in a city renowned for its sky-high prices. The property is housed in the 18th-century St. John House (former Labor Party headquarters), and rooms and dorms are decked out in rich, jewel-like tones. Among the highlights: a sunny terrace garden, a bar, a pool room, and a chill-out area with free Wi-fi.
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Memmo Alfama, Lisbon
Hotelier Rodrigo Machaz has another winner on his hands with this boutique sleep in Lisbon's Arab Quarter. Expect minimalist clean lines, Mid-century Modern furnishings and a stunner of a rooftop bar, with a red pool inspired by the surrounding terracotta rooftops. Even the facade offers an unforgettable first impression, thanks to a striking mural created by Portugese artist Alexandre Farto (also known as Vhils). Another touch we love: the hotel uses mostly Portuguese products and brands.